United Way of the Ozarks in statewide network distributing $5 million grant to help our neighbors in need

Mary Sue HobanAnnouncement, Partners

United Way of the Ozarks is participating in an unprecedented statewide partnership of United Ways designed to uplift at-risk families across Missouri. For the first time, UWO is receiving funds from a state allocation of $5 million distributed across Missouri in partnership with the Missouri Association of United Ways (MAUW). This impact investing strategy expands existing programs and infrastructure statewide to improve the trajectory of Missouri families and their communities. The funds are from the state’s TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) grant. Locally, TANF funds are being dispersed by UWO partners, Community Partnership of the Ozarks (CPO) and Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation (OACAC).

The MAUW serves 90% of Missouri’s total population, and this one-time grant will help support the immediate basic needs of families in crisis. Hundreds of thousands of people throughout Missouri live in poverty, and this funding distribution will be used to empower them by helping with stable housing and food, jobs and financial mobility and more. Overall, grant funds are being administered by United Way of Greater St. Louis, United Way of Greater Kansas City and Joplin-based United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas.

“We are proud to partner with United Ways across Missouri, the state government and local agencies to make this initiative possible,” said Greg Burris, president and CEO of UWO, the Springfield-based nonprofit serving 14 counties across Southwest Missouri. “This grant delivers assistance to our community and puts it within reach of those who need it most.”

United Way of the Ozarks currently supports 21 programs, provided by 14 nonprofit partners, that provide pathways out of poverty and champion children. By direct funding and via community connections, UWO encourages solutions that address upstream causes of community hurdles, along with safety net assistance and investment in innovative programs that tackle new challenges and approaches.

“I have been a champion for the United Way for a long time, but this is the first time that the State of Missouri has made a financial investment in this organization. I am glad we were finally able to do this,” said State Sen. Brian Williams of the 14th District and St. Louis County. “Our communities and state government recognize how impactful United Way has been to the people they serve across the state. They are always good stewards over the funding they receive, and we have faith that they will put this grant to good use to serve even more Missourians.”

Funding for eligible families will be available March 1 through June 30, 2024, or until funds are depleted. Interested individuals living in Douglas, Greene, Hickory, Laclede, Texas, and Wright counties can contact Community Partnership of the Ozarks at 417-888-2020.